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Living Life as a Mermaid is All the Rage

Mermaid

SourceDavi Moreira looks like any other young Rio de Janeiro beach lover as he heads down to the Ipanema surf each week — at least until he dons his blue mermaid’s tail.

Other bathers look on in astonishment as Moreira, 22, performs his weekly ritual. However, as part of a trend in Brazil and as far away as Holland and Canada, he is far from alone.

“It’s a lifestyle, a way of expressing my love and respect for the sea and this encounter between two worlds. When I’m in the water I feel like another person,” he said while resting on rocks with his tail glittering in the sun.

Like many who feel the need to dress up as mermaids and swim with the up and down motion of the broad tail, Moreira was inspired from childhood by Disney’s popular animated movie “The Little Mermaid.” …

But he says not everyone accepts his passion. Some insult him, while others suggest he get psychological help.

Two youngsters from a nearby favela who’d come down to well-heeled Ipanema shook their heads at Moreira’s antics on the beach. “That’s not right, it’s mad,” one said.

Moreira says his mermaid obsession is an answer to a “cruel” world. …

Mirella Ferraz, who describes herself as Brazil’s “first professional mermaid” … estimates there are about 1,000 mermaid aficionados in Brazil and that the numbers are rising. Online sales of her mermaid tails reach some 90 a month now, up from just 10 or so when she started in 2012.

If you asked me, as the Old Balls around here, what’s the biggest cultural I’ve seen in my lifetime, I wouldn’t hesitate to say it’s Mermaid Acceptance. As awful as it sounds, when I was growing up, we simply were intolerant of people who wanted to live the mermaid lifestyle. If a kid spent his summer at the beach wearing a tail, lying in the waves, singing and making imaginary friends with a happy fish, ornery Caribbean crabs and forgetful seagulls, woe be unto him once school started back up.

Sadly, mermaid aficionados had to stay in the closet for the most part. Even during the Splash craze of 1984, it was still very much Reagan’s America. No matter how much you wanted to don the tail and go sing a song in the waves, there was too much societal pressure. So we talked about how Tom Hanks should do comedies for the rest of his life, how John Candy should live forever and about Daryl Hannah’s incredible butt shot. And think about how long it took from when The Little Mermaid came out until now for us to come this far. Hell, right into the 2000s, if a boy was mermaid-curious, it was just assumed his role model had to be Mermaid Man from Spongebob. Who had two legs and almost no actual mermaid characteristics. And even if you wanted to buy a tail in your size, we had no Mirella Ferraz helping make your dreams come true.

I’m sorry. I know it sounds horrible. But the world was a different place. And I’m sorry for Davi “Ariel” Moreira he still has to deal with the ignorant speciesism of those youngsters from the favela. Progress is too slow sometimes. But like with the guy I wrote about a while back who’s physically transforming himself into an elf, consider this blog to be a safe space where you are accepted for the half fish/half woman you are on the inside.

@jerrythornton1